REVIEW: Little Red Riding Hood – Lyric Theatre, Belfast
The Lyric Theatre provides a welcoming release from the slightly insane weather allowing a crowd of all ages to gather and get into the Holiday Spirit with a family friendly Christmas show written by the award-winning Derek O’Connor.
As cheesy as the tradition of a pantomime may be perceived the warm and friendly atmosphere engulfing the venue is absolutely undeniable. Children and staff alike have gone to the effort of donning red capes, not hesitating to get into the full swing of things. As the bell rings to call everyone to the main stage, some definite apprehensive looking faces can be seen from the younger audience members as they enter the cavernous space of where the show will take place. Calls of wolves and birds can be heard in the background creating a palpable ambience as seats are taken.
Without much warning the house lights go down and things are kicked off with a dramatic musical number. With a bellowing voice and some particularly impressive tricks with a piano, the audience are immediately drawn into the dramatic story being told by the lone figure of a wolf pouring his heart out through song.
Things don’t stay sombre for too long though. Introductions are made in a theatrically genius way. Each of the main characters gets their own chance to give us a bit of their back story, only enticing the audience further. The delivery and timing of each gesture and movement the actors make ensures for plenty of laughter and giggles from all age ranges now in eager crowd.
The story of Little Red Riding Hood begins shortly after. In reality, the actual tale only takes up about 15 minutes of the overall show leading to many puzzled faces. This is where the quite brilliant modern twist on the original story occurs. Again, without wanting to give too much away, the audience almost seem to lean forward as they are drawn further into the story. Before the ingenuous twist is developed too much, the 1st half of the show abruptly ends with a quite dramatic cliff-hanger.
The 2nd half of the show promises more catchy songs and fascinating tricks. The cast impressively manoeuvre the minimal set between each scene to give the illusion of being transported somewhere different as the story progresses. At not one point does the enthusiasm of each member on-stage fade, guaranteeing a performance that is most enjoyable. The show seems to draw to a close in almost no time at all reinforcing the fact that it is not only well rehearsed but also seamlessly timed and thought-out.
The end of the performance rings out an overall heart-warming message that is met with rapturous applause which continues all the way through to the performer’s last bow. If you want a show with a little extra bite (excuse the pun), look no further than this cleverly crafted tale.